The Thrive Project

Part 1


Positive Doing

Healthy Living > The Thrive Project > Part 1: Positive Doing

Content series | By Charlie Unwin May 2020

Training a different kind of fitness

To truly thrive, we need to train ourselves in three areas:

  • Positive doing
  • Positive thinking
  • Positive feeling

Like the legs of a stool, each of these relies on one another. If we strengthen these three areas, they can bear a good deal of weight, allowing us to reach further and achieve more. But if we ignore just one of them, they can all fall down. Like any good physical training regime, I recommend a few exercises for you to do and improve on. There are hundreds of potential exercises for each. I’ll be sharing the most important ones with you in the next few weeks, to help you through this challenging coronavirus situation.

The Thrive Project Part 1:

Positive Doing

Sports Performance Psychologist Charlie Unwin is helping us bring you some useful tips on how we can build resilience to help us cope well throughout self-isolation and other changes to our situations that coronavirus has triggered.

Find out more about Charlie's journey and background.

Part 1 below focuses on Positive Doing. As always we want you to be as healthy and happy throughout this challenging time as possible. We hope you find some inspiration and live better with it!

Short on time? Take it offline.


We've put all of Charlie's thoughts and insight into an easy step-by-step infographic. A PDF one. One you can download and keep going back to. Not as much detail as the articles, but it'll get you thriving! 


Click the link to download the PDF of The Thrive Project by Charlie Unwin



We will know we have been successful when… We have created and reinforced good habits for ourselves.

Principle 1

Always have a plan

Being restricted by this global pandemic means that families and households have to dramatically re-think the way they go about life over the next few months. Everyone's circumstances are different, but one thing is for sure – the households who deal best with it will be the ones with a plan. Rather than wait to see what happens, be proactive. Work out the rules of the game in your house. The sooner, the better!

Tips for creating your family plan

  • Break your plan down into sections: work, financial, social, shopping, cooking, volunteering.
  • No doubt it will also involve other people. Although the idea of hosting a family or household meeting may fill you with dread, remember everyone must have the opportunity to at least co-create the rules and work out who is doing what.
  • Involve everyone – and they'll get involved.
  • A clear plan should give everyone something positive to focus on every day – even if it's getting the groceries, going for a walk, or checking your elderly neighbour. By making it part of a plan, you'll do it with more purpose.
  • Write your plan down and put it on the wall or fridge for all to see!

Principle 2

The Power of Routine

Now that you have a plan, your biggest challenge will be sticking to it! Athletes rely heavily on routine to stick to their plan and perform consistently. There is a direct correlation between the consistency of a golfer's pre-shot routine and their likelihood of hitting the ball sweetly. This is because routine gives us predictability, and predictability gives us consistency. If there is anything we could all benefit from right now, it is more predictability and consistency – so let's generate it ourselves from the inside-out.

Timing is very important for generating routine because our brains unconsciously pick up on repeated patterns of behaviour. This makes the same behaviour easier over time. We are therefore much more likely to adhere to an online gym workout if we do it at the same time every day.

Sounds simple, right? But your post-coronavirus reality might well lack the structure and disciplines imposed on you before (through work or school) that keep you on track. Therefore you may now be more responsible for your routines than ever before! Get it wrong, and you may find yourself drifting from one thing to another based on your emotions at the time. Get it right and your day will be more punctuated with greater energy, greater quality, and greater focus. 

Top tips for establishing new routines

  • Make time for your new routines by keeping a diary – if you're walking outside every day at 3 pm, put it in your diary!
  • New routines can take time to get used to – it may take a few days before it starts to feel natural
  • Get back on the horse – if it all falls apart on day two, just pick it up again on day three
  • Get the buy-in from your family by creating the new routine together

Principle 3

Do less, achieve more

If there's one trap we're all guilty of falling into – it's the 'busy-ness' trap. Unsurprisingly this is where the word business originated – "the process of keeping oneself busy". Our obsession with achieving more and getting things done means that we run a risk. A risk of doing everything with less energy, less focus, less connection, less meaning, and less quality. Ironically, we end up working harder to make up for it!

Keep it simple

So, logic suggests that if we just decide to do less, but focus on what was MOST important and meaningful to us, we'd gain more focus, more productivity, more connection… basically, more success and fulfilment. This is now backed up by a deluge of research from neuro- and behavioural scientists – so much so that it's been coined the Law of Subtraction.

People and businesses who strive to keep things simple always have a performance advantage. In fact, Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, said that success for him is about making one or two good decisions every day.

As simple as it sounds on paper, this is one of the toughest paradoxes to get our head around, but the people who do it well are the ones who prosper. So use the next few months to take the opportunity to ask yourself, 'if I only did half the things I do, but do them twice as well, what would they be and what might I notice?'

Top tips

  • Identify what's really important and focus each day on less, to achieve more
  • Ask yourself, 'if I only did half the things I do, but do them twice as well, what would they be and what might I notice?'
An explanation of the Thrive Project principles

Don't just survive... THRIVE


The Thrive Project aims to translate the psychological principles used by top athletes into everyday life - helping us to be the best we can be, no matter what the challenge.


The project has been designed and developed by Olympic Psychology Coach, Charlie Unwin.


What does it mean to THRIVE?


Lessons from sport...


Simplyhealth is working closely with Charlie Unwin, Sports Performance Psychologist, to bring to life The Thrive Project - which you can read on our Covid-19 content hub.


He'll be giving tips and advice on how to change the way you think about your mental and physical fitness which we hope can help you learn how to thrive in these stressful and uncertain times. The infographic PDF takes you through The Thrive Project principle (Positive Doing/Positive Thinking/Positive Feeling). 



A bit about Charlie


Charlie Unwin is a specialist in human performance and psychology. His clients include multiple Olympic Champions, England Football, elite Special Forces and The Royal Household. A former Army officer and GB athlete, Charlie is passionate about transferring the tools and techniques used by athletes and elite performers into everyday life, allowing more people to live well and achieve their potential.

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